House Passes Farm Bill Cutting SNAP $8.6 Billion Over 10 Years

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The House of Representatives Wednesday passed a new farm bill, which includes cuts the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), often referred to as food stamps, that could impact as many as 1.7 million Americans.

The bill would trim $8.6 billion in SNAP funding over the next decade. The proposed budget cuts would impact an estimated 850,000 households in 17 states, who would see their average SNAP benefits reduced by approximately $90 a month.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president would sign the bill if it passed the Senate.

The cuts come on the heels of a general reduction in benefits last November, in which all SNAP participants saw their monthly benefits cut by $30.

The bipartisan proposal facing a floor vote would likely impact families with “nominal” state Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefits most, as under the bill, such households would not be allowed to receive standard deductions for shelter and utility costs.

SNAP beneficiaries in two-thirds of the nation are unlikely to see any substantial benefits losses if the bill passes, though about 10 percent of beneficiaries in the other one-third are likely to see reductions.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that about four percent of SNAP participants in the U.S. will see benefits cut, as the total amount of SNAP benefits is reduced over the next decade by approximately 1.3 percent.

More than 47 million Americans are currently enrolled in the federal SNAP program. According to the Coalition for Human Needs (CHN) each dollar contributed to SNAP produces anywhere from $1.73 to $1.79 in economic benefits. A $1 billion cut in SNAP funding, CHN states, could  possibly result in more than 13,000 individuals becoming unemployed.  

A previous House bill would have shaved nearly $40 billion from the SNAP budget over the next 10 years, which would have resulted in nearly 4 million current beneficiaries losing program eligibility.

Other controversial provisions in the previous House bill, including the elimination of the categorical eligibility option and giving states the ability to drug test SNAP beneficiaries, have been omitted from the current proposal.